Q. I am attempting to help my brother apply for his postponed FERS retirement. When he left government service, he was 55 with more than 10 years of service, so he was eligible for retirement, but he decided to postpone it to avoid the age reductions. He is now 65 and has never applied for his FERS annuity. I am filling out the forms for him, and I am unsure what date to put down as an effective date. I’ve read the OPM Web pages but can’t find information that pertains to someone applying for the postponed annuity after turning 62. He turned 62 on Nov. 11, 2008. Can his effective date be backdated? If so, would the date be December 2008? Will he receive back pay since that date? Or should the effective date be the month after he submits his application (August 2012)? I don’t want to use an effective date that might mean he will miss out on any annuity he may be entitled to. Also, as I understand it, since he had health and life insurance benefits for at least five years before separating, he will be eligible to continue those benefits upon retirement, correct? Will he be able to enroll his wife in FEHB even if she wasn’t covered while he was employed? To enroll her, will he have to elect a FERS survivor benefit for her?
A. Since a deferred annuity begins on the applicant’s 62nd birthday, put that down on the form. This will assure that he receives an annuity retroactive to that date.
Since he was covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs for at least five years before he left government, he will be able to re-enroll in both. And he will be able to cover his wife under the self and family option. However, unless he elects a survivor annuity for her, she won’t be able to continue that health benefits coverage if he predeceases her.